“Our Macks are absolutely bulletproof.”
Murray Francis gives his Macks a hard workout shifting aggregate and mobile crushers all over New Zealand’s South Island, and they love every minute of it.
Mack since the 1970s
Back in 1974, Road Metals bought three of the first R-Models to be brought into New Zealand. It was the start of a long and special relationship with Mack Trucks that continues today.
“We got number two, three and four of those R-Models,” says Managing Director Murray Francis, “and they were absolutely bulletproof. You’d shudder at the conditions they worked in, but they lapped it up. We’ve still got an R-Model out on the road today – I’m trying to retire it but my drivers love it so much they keep dragging it out. Those R-Models were absolutely brilliant, the best trucks we’ve ever owned.”
And going strong in 2014
These days the Road Metals fleet features more Tridents than R-Models, with thirty trucks in the Road Metals fleet, 80% of them Mack. As well as carrying aggregate they haul tippers, bottom-dumpers, low-loaders, mobile screening and crushingplants.
The company’s subsidiary Kiwi Concrete also runs a bunch of Mack 8x4 and 10x4 Metro-Liners set up as concrete agitators. Clearly, Murray is a Mack man, and he’s stuck with Mack for two good reasons: reliability and service.
“Our core business is crushing aggregate,” says Murray, “the trucks are a necessary evil to haul our mobile crushers around the South Island and cart the aggregate around, so for me the key is not having to worry about them, and that means reliability is my priority.”
Reliability through superb service
“We’ve had a great partnership with MTD,” says Murray, “they’ve been absolutely superb for us. They don’t run from problems, they face them square on. I remember an incident back in 1978 when we had an engine break down in a competitor’s truck at 90,000km and the dealer argued that they didn’t have to repair it under warranty. At the same time we had an issue with one of our Macks that had done 800,000 kilometres, and Mack said “She should’ve done a million, we’ll send you a free engine kit. We never expected this, but it was a cunning move as we ordered two new Macks the next day and eventually moved the Road Metal fleet to 100% Mack.”
Murray points out that this standard of service has stood the test of time.
“We were working down in Milford Sound once, a very remote location, and we could get parts from them in Palmerston North more quickly that one of their competitors in Invercargill could deliver. Mack have always delivered reliable trucks and MTD has supplied 98% of our trucks and provided absolutely superb service.”
Good looks and driver appeal
Murray has fitted his Macks with plenty of bling and insists on keeping them in tiptop condition, and now his son Dan (third-generation and currently Operations Manager) is even more fastidious.
“Our main business is in the quarries,” he says, “but the trucks are the public face of the company, and I reckon they’re among the best-looking fleet in the country. We believe in immaculate presentation and dependable performance and the Macks deliver on both.”
“The Macks have always been reliable trucks and my drivers love them. I know companies who have trucks sitting idle for want of drivers, but we never have that problem. I tell them if they want drivers they should go and buy themselves some Macks.”